There’s no denying 2015 has brought on some tough times for farmers.
“I mean we replanted three times, then we gave it up. Three strikes and you’re out. Well, we quit after that,” said Jim Robbins, who farms in Manhattan, Ill.
Impacted by rain this season or not, every farmer is financially feeling this year’s prices. “That is really a downer here. Even with good yields, a lot of farmers may break below even. That’s the kind of overriding feeling now,” said farmer Bob Bowman of DeWitt, Iowa.
With a variable crop throughout the Corn Belt, market strategies for the upcoming year are already in full swing.
“I have already made a 2016 sale when I made a 2015 sale," said Jerry Mohr, a farmer in Eldridge, Iowa. "I went out for a year (and) I’ve never done that before."
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Others are shifting the other way, mainly due to the cost of production and roller-coaster yields.
“We didn’t sell near as many bushels early as we typically would because we didn’t know the type of crop we were going to have. Looking forward to 2016, we definitely have that cost of production in the back of our head all of the time. We keep in mind what our cost per bushel at different yields levels are too,” said farmer Mike Hannewald of Waterville, Ohio.
Most farmers we talked to this season say they’re sticking with their usual plan--whatever that may be.
“I don’t know if we’ll change too much," said Mark Wills, a farmer in Coal City, Ill. "Crop rotation right now probably won’t change too much."
“I think we’re going to stay with what we’ve always done, maybe just keep an eye on the markets,” Jim Robbins added.
“I’m using the plan I’ve used the last several years and marketing it as the trade allows and offers us opportunities," said Matt Raasch, who farms in Odebolt, Iowa. "I’m going to focus more on watching input costs for the upcoming year."
Some prefer to keep a broader perspective as they make their marketing decisions.
“I try to use that 24-month window--the 12 months before you harvest a crop and the 12 months after you harvest--to market grain,” said farmer Kevin Thierry of Pettisville, Ohio.
Others say they’re narrowing their marketing focus and selling for the future when opportunities come. “I don’t have enough physical storage for my whole crop,” said Bowman.
Though 2015 has been a tough year, they all hope 2016 will turn prices green and make harvest ripe with anticipation. “It will take a little bit of money to make a profit this year," Wills said. "I don’t think it’s going to be there."
How have you adjusted your marketing strategies or acreage plans in response to the current market? Let us know in the comments.